Makers of children's sports shoes highlight ergonomic designs, and functional and protective materials.
Key enhancements target better comfort and fit. Suppliers are investing in larger designs as the present generation of users was found to have bigger feet. Recent pairs adopt higher uppers and insteps to provide ample space.
To improve sizing further, A&J Import & Export Co. Ltd asks children to try on samples. This allows the maker to determine the best shape and dimensions.
In keeping with the latest sports trends, businesses adopt functional materials based on the intended activity. To heighten breathability, lightweight polyester mesh lining is utilized for running models, while tougher leather uppers are preferred in hiking versions.
Children’s releases are also made less heavy to encourage easier movement. Phylon outsoles are typical for trekking and jogging shoes as they are nonslip. Skate variants use EVA and rubber, which boast good durability.
In connection to developing sturdier styles, A&J is reinforcing the counters with mesh to reduce creasing even after constant bending. The fabric is generally more elastic than the usual upper materials, preventing it from losing shape.
Meanwhile, Maylink Fujian Trading Co. Ltd tests the quality of outsoles in-house to ensure wear resistance. The supplier offers a six-month to 1-year warranty.
Product safety is another requirement of recent children’s sports footwear. Laces are kept short to avoid users tripping on them, while longer hook-and-loop tape is employed to ensure the straps overlap completely. The first closure is adopted in hiking and running models as this offers more security. Tape versions are often found in skate shoes and younger ones’ pairs since they are easier to fasten.
Apart from physical protection, manufacturers are more aware of the possible toxicity of materials. For uppers, Maylink utilizes South Korea-sourced recycled leather, which is free of azo, formaldehyde and lead.
Products & prices
Among the children’s sports shoes from China are running, hiking, ball sport and skate pairs. Products typically have PU, leather, canvas or polyester mesh uppers.
The common outsole options are TPR, PVC, rubber and phylon. The first is widely used for its good performance yet lower cost. PVC is employed in low-end designs, while rubber and phylon are commonly incorporated in high-end versions. Phylon is up to two times more expensive than TPR.
Polyester mesh, pigskin and terry are the typical lining choices and may be similar to those adopted for insoles. All the materials are sweat-absorbent and breathable. Sheepskin is also available, but very few shoes utilize the hide because it tends to break faster.
As regards aesthetics, manufacturers are using different inputs in one style. A growing number of suppliers are veering away from pure genuine leather uppers toward those combined with synthetic fabric, which is more widely available. Variants in PU and animal hide are popular for winter. The work required, however, is more complex and labor-intensive.
The typical colors for children’s running shoes are light hues, while those for hiking pairs are darker. Skate models adopt both shades.
The trimming options include embroidery, prints, rubber patches, metal and woven tape. Cartoon characters are a mainstream motif.
Pricewise, the design complexity and the materials utilized are the main determinants. With the increase in labor spending, more manufacturers are employing simpler styles, which are half the $0.90 to $1.20 cost of creating intricate shoes.
Quoted at $4 to $5 per pair, low-end products incorporate canvas or PU uppers, and PVC outsoles. The footwear can have mesh or no lining.
Midrange models are $5.50 to $7. The uppers come in pure PU, or a combination of PU, mesh or leather. Pigskin, or terry and mesh lining are adopted. The selection utilizes TPR or rubber outsoles, sponge padding and more embellishments.
High-end models are between $7.50 and $20. They employ cowhide uppers, pigskin lining, and phylon or rubber outsoles. Pairs with profuse trimmings and intricate designs are offered.
Prices for children’s sports shoes rose 5 to 15 percent in the past quarter due to elevated labor and material costs, and the yuan appreciation. Given these circumstances, quotes are forecast to climb further by 10 to 20 percent in 2011.
A&J Import & Export Co. Ltd
Model: AJ-J101 Girls Sport Shoes
A&J Import & Export Co. Ltd
Model: AJ-J105 Boys Sport Shoes
A&J Import & Export Co. Ltd
Model: AJ-1137 Girls Sport Shoes
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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